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2008 National Film Challenge

April 16, 2009

So, I figured I better write about the National Film Challenge, even thoug it is one of those contests that seems to be both over and never over at the same time. Currently, 17 films (at least I think it’s 17) are on their website and are currently being voted on until Jan. 12th, 2009. VOTE.

My film, Comfort Zone, did not make the top 17, but I am still holding out hope for some kind of recognition, say “best use of prop,” but at this stage it is pretty unlikely. Though I was quite please with our end product, the process of making the film was one of my toughest experinces. For the contest, I worked with a Richmond based group, a group I had worked with two times earlier, and we called ourselves Persistent Cough Productions. I had good feelings going into the competition because the group had clicked together very well the year before for NFC 2008, where our submission Cheeks had actually been selected as a top 15 film. See below.

And for NFC 2009, we had an even bigger crew of individuals committed to working in the competition. We even had members of the Plaid Connection commit to helping out. (another Richmond based group who actuall won the Richmond 48 Hour Film Project) They’re film for the 48 Hour Project, entitled God Given Talent was amazing and certainly deserved to win.

Anyway, I felt experienced, felt I had a good group, and felt like we had a decent chance to make something special. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, and they never do in these types of competitions. In fact, I think each time I do them they continue to get harder and harder. The main problem we had was that two members decided to assume power roles (ie. director and producer) and then proceeded to treat the project as if it was a hollywood production. Instead of being a group of like minded individuals unified by a shared passion, it was you need to do what I say. It was bad news, and what was worse was they were not present at the home location and were trying to micromanage from a distance. Needless to say, we spent the whole night being awake and disagreeing.

There was mutiny, there was quiting, there was yelling, there was alot of crap, but out of it all we were able to regroup. The plus and curse of a 72 hour competition. had it been any other competition I am sure we would have quit. I ended up writing up a rough script of an idea that I thought could work, and we went with that. The script continued to evolve throughout the process of production, but the film still did not make much sense until around 3pm the day the film was required to be mailed. My buddy Chris put together the music and the self help tape, which I think, really just brought togeher the story, the mood, and the characters.

His music really helped me to set the pacing in the editing. With the editing complete at about 7:30pm, we brought the laptop into the car so that we could burn the dvd while on our way to the Fed Ex place. And yes, you better believed we shipped that dvd off at 7:55, just before the 8:00pm close time of the store. It really feels good to deliver something at the very last second…

After it was all argued and done, I really liked the movie that we made. I think it is even better than a couple of the movies selected in the top 17 (of course not nearly as good as a lot of the others selected). But of course, the judges always have their personal preference, which always seems to have an air of mystery to it. But here is the film in all its Youtube greatness:

Fun facts to learn about me!

NFC 2009 was actually my 8th timed competition ( (4) 24 hour, 2 (48 hour), 2 (72 hour)).

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